What is Green Infrastructure ('low impact development')? Could it benefit my property and why is it so important?

Green Infrastructure is the management of Stormwater through natural features. Green Infrastructure practices capture stormwater and filter out the pollutants buy allowing plants to filter them out as the water slowly infiltrates into the ground, or return water to streams at a slower rate with a lower percentage of pollution. These practices help to preserve or restore the landscape and natural hydrology by slowing down the rate of stormwater and floodwaters, capturing pollutants in stormwater, infiltrating stormwater back into the ground, and preventing erosion in streambanks.

Such practices can be installed around the home, community, and business, and include vegetated swales, rain gardens, rain barrels and porous pavement. Green Infrastructure is also be used to address sewer overflow problems by keeping excess rain out of the sanitary system. Green Infrastructure is becoming visible throughout the nation's towns and villages . See our Fact-Sheet page for Rain Garden guidance, and note the many videos on building rain gardens and swales on YouTube.

Photo: Incorporating Green Infrastructure at your home or business can offer great benefits on rain/flood water management, as well as improve water quality.

There are many notable resources and even incentives for developing Green Infrastructure.

Green Infrastructure Resources :

NYSDEC Examples of Green Infrastructure : Look for examples in Rockland County!

EPA's Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit:

EPA has developed the toolkit with the following applications and models for communities to manage stormwater runoff:

  • Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWIZ) - A web application with information on EPA's green infrastructure tools and resources.
  • Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST) - A software application for water resource managers and planners to screen green infrastructure practices for cost-effectiveness and economic sustainability.
  • Visualizing Ecosystem Land Management (VELMA) Assessments - A model for regional planners and land managers to determine which green infrastructure practice would be most effective for improving water quality in streams, estuaries, and groundwater.
  • Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) - A simulation model for communities to analyze stormwater runoff reduction measures.
  • The National Stormwater Calculator (SWC) - An application estimating the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site anywhere in the United States. Users can use learn how green infrastructure technology, like rain gardens, can prevent water pollution in their neighborhoods.

Click here for additional cited works & resources.

Last updated July 25, 2017